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THE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. THE meetings of the Cabinet, and the usual ministerial notices remind us of the opening of Parliament on Tuesday, the 7th Feb- ruary. Some changes will be noticeable in the House of Commons, but these chiefly affect the Opposition. On the Government side, Lord Curzon's place will be occupied by Mr. St. John Brodrick, whose former duties, as under secretary for war, are now taken over by Mr. George Wyndham. These new appointments stand almost alone in the remarkably few changes in the Go- vernment, which practically remains to day as it was formed three and a half years ago. The complications on the front Liberal bench have, on the ether hand, been ag- gravated by further resignations. Sir Wil- liam Harcourt will no longer lead the Opposition, and this change will be the one most marked in the House of Commons, when the session commences. That it will occasion general regret, goes without say- ing, and this is felt the more by Liberals, because there does not seem to be any. adequate cause or explanation for Sir Wm. Harcourt's retirement, and it is to be earnest- ly desired that when he meets his friends that he will yet be induced to re- consider his decision. Mr. Morley's ex- planation leaves the reader unconvinced of the necessity for such a step. Both he and Sir William Harcourt, do not dispute the proposition that the country must be re- solute in maintaining its just rights. Yet they appear to blame the Liberal party for supporting this principle in the recent crises with France. There was nothing in this situation that justifies the charge that a spirit of Jingoism' has penetrated the Liberal party, and indeed the bandying about of such phraseg seems to be but play- ing with the trifles of politics. What the country has come to recognise is, that the dangers of undue concession are not less than the perils of aggression, and with the latter, so far as it rests with us, we have long since, it is hoped, done with. If the nation is more determined upon its rights, it is be- cause they have been repeatedly brushed aside by acts of aggression. If we have extended operations in Africa, it is be- cause nearly half that continent is already closed to our trade by hostile tariffs. The development of modern colonial enterprise by other Powers is a new feature and has to be recognised. The country is, to a large extent, dependent upon its foreign trade, and it cannot afford to see the markets of the world closed against it, without making some effort to compensate for these exclu- sions. This necessity for action and alert- ness may be a matter for regret, but it is scarcely one to moan and groan over as if its recognition were little better than a crime. The new session is, however, likely to be less occupied with foreign affairs than at one time seemed probable. It is taken for granted that Sir Henry Campbell Ban- nerman will be the leader of the Opposi- tion in the House of Commons, and it is hoped that he will not fall into the diffi- culties which overtake men of extreme views. Sir Henry's moderate views upon foreign and domestic questions will divide the Liberal party the least, and it will have confidence in his ability and experience. His success as a leader naturally depends a good deal upon the assistance he is able to obtain from his colleagues, and this is perhaps the more important seeing that Sir Henry has not the reputation of being a hard worker. He has, however, a reputation as a man of equable and amiable temperament. This will, no doubt, be news to some Welshmen, whose only experience of any prominent action of his was his retirement from office on the paltry cordite' adverse vote, which was the immediate cause of the resignation of Lord Rosebery's Government, and the eventual complete overthrow of the party. Why this action is resented is, that the Welsh Disestablishment Bill was then in committee, and that a numerically weak Government werestrugglingto do theirduty. Ecclesiastical matters may give rise to a lively controversy, as may also the London Municipalities Bill, but on the whole it does not seem that party feeling will have great scope this session. Among the measures definitely intimated in ministerial speeches, are those dealing with workmen's dwellings (to facilitate easy acquirement) Secondary Education, Dangerous Trades, and Scottish Private Bill Procedure. All but the first were among the measures of last session, as were also the Food Adulteration Bill, and the Companies Act Amendment Bill, both being subjects which the Government can hardly fail to again take up this year. The Opposition should take up a fighting policy, but it is scarcely possible that we have any serious political warfare during the coming session.






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